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DANA ANDREWS & JEANNE CRAIN RETURN FOR 'MADISON AVENUE'

Dana Andrews & Jeanne Crain in Madison Avenue Year: 1961

Based on the novel The Build-Up Boys, Dana Andrews is similar to a resilient, hard-sell con artist twenty-years earlier from FALLEN ANGEL — only with a place to sleep and worth far more than a crumpled bottom dollar, his suit-and-tie, smooth-talking Clint Lorimer is out of a job after being duped by his big boss — a classy backstabber wary that his top employee's skills could tempt away any and all clients in an advertising firm on MADISON AVENUE... 

Dana's Clint seeks tunnel-vision vengeance by going over his now rival by thinking outside the box and joining with a nowhere agency — to turn dented bronze into shiny, luminescent gold... 

That's where much of the story plays out, concerning a business relationship between Dana and sophisticated yet vulnerable beauty Eleanor Parker as Anne Tremaine. Their chemistry is smart and interesting while Jeanne Crain, as a smitten reporter who Clint uses, again and again — till she eventually has a personal grudge and score to settle — takes a backseat: Thus the STATE FAIR (and DUEL IN THE JUNGLE) couple aren't as important despite sharing plenty of scenes. Instead, most of Clint's time is spent not only making Parker's Anne go from a plain-Jane to a beautiful woman on the move, but they're both challenged to turn Eddie Albert's eccentric, hands-on milk company owner into a terrific speech maker, and possibly a politician...

Dana Andrews in Madison Avenue Rating: ***1/2

A pivotal scene has Eddie Albert's Harvey Ames reading from Clint's assorted cue cards, and then having to wing the rest of an important, game-changing speech on his own...

Initially a nervous, oddball underdog, Eddie's character is the most intriguing and likable, which makes it awkward and contrived when the tables turn, and the inevitable conflict of ideals arise in which Dana has to knock the suddenly overconfident Ames off his newfound pedestal...

Thankfully we're finally left with more meaningful interplay between Dana and Jeanne, stuck in the ruins of so many twists and turns that aren't explained enough to be completely involving or that make complete sense...

But it's still an entertaining b-picture, directed by eclectic veteran H. Bruce Humberstone. And the two ingenues aside, Andrews's most endearing co-star is homely secretary Kathleen Freeman, more faithful than anyone else on board. Even during a muddled third act when it's Andrews against former boss Howard St. John (now joined with Crain), she gives both her own boss, and the audience, a smooth, relaxing baseline. 

Kathleen Freeman and Dana Andrews in MADISON AVENUE
Eleanor Parker and Dana Andrews in MADISON AVENUE
Jeanne Crain and Dana Andrews in MADISON AVENUE
Betty Andrews, Howard St. John and Dana Andrews in MADISON AVENUE
David White and Dana Andrews in MADISON AVENUE
Eddie Albert and Dana Andrews in MADISON AVENUE
Jeanne Crain and Dana Andrews in MADISON AVENUE
Eleanor Parker and Dana Andrews in MADISON AVENUE
Betty Andrews (no relation) and Dana Andrews in MADISON AVENUE
Dana Andrews and Jeanne Crain in MADISON AVENUE
Dana Andrews and Jeanne Crain in MADISON AVENUE
Dana Andrews struts his stuff in MADISON AVENUE
Doris Fesette as the gorgeous bar blonde in MADISON AVENUE
Poster artwork for MADISON AVENUE including The Build Up in the Tagline

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